I had a funny experience this morning. I heard the dog stirring about 7:00 AM and listened quietly for a few minutes before she came into our room and began to rub her cold, wet nose on my hand that was resting near the edge of the bed. The pleading look in her eyes told me that she needed to make an earlier than usual jaunt outside! So without much thought I threw on a pair of pants, slid on my slippers and donned a coat for the trek into the morning cold. I did manage to splash a little cold water on my face and hoped that no one would see me before I had the chance to make myself look handsome for the day…
As I stood on the sidewalk at the edge of our breezeway near the grass, I had one eye on Mandie and with the other gazed at the pretty blue sky dotted with an occasional wisp of a cloud. All of a sudden the sense of serenity was broken by the bounding arrival of a small white dog. He just seemed to appear from nowhere! The excited pooch stopped a few feet away from our startled dog, crouched down as if wanting to play and waited for Mandie’s response.
My first reaction was to laugh and then I turned to see if anyone was with him. Sure enough, off to my left was a lady who I think was as surprised as we were! She began to frantically call her dog back while both Mandie and I just sort of stood still to see how this was going to unfold. The funniest part to me was that I am sure that the women, like me, did not expect to meet anyone outside as she was dressed in pajamas and had a big red towel wrapped around her head! I quickly figured that the gentlemanly and respectful thing to do was to turn away and not stare or burst out laughing! Good move huh? Thankfully the dog quickly obeyed her and retreated toward her location. After a while I looked back and they had disappeared from view.
And speaking of respect… I had another great experience when we attended New Life Church last night. One of the main parameters that I had set toward the potential of our continued attendance was that the people would respond positively to my wife. As I have mentioned before, one of the most difficult things for me to handle with my wife’s health problems has been the way many folks including some family and friends have ignored her with the changes that have ensued in the development of the disease. It hurts because she brightened a room whenever she entered and was always the first to go up and make the unwelcome feel welcomed.
Well, from the first moment we attended this church the people have gone out of their way to bless my wife. Last night many folks talked with her and one wonderful lady took multiple opportunities to kneel down and talk and laugh with her at a face to face level. It was exciting to me to see Piper respond to the loving attention and even turn and look at her while nodding her head and smiling in recognition to some of the things being said!
As I thought about all this later in the evening once we returned home, it suddenly dawned on me that these precious folks were not only demonstrating the love of Christ, but more importantly to me they were respecting my wife! On Sunday morning one of the ushers made a point to move some chairs around so that Piper could sit within a row and not in the aisle. He said that he wanted her to know that she was a part of the church and not an outsider that has to sit apart from everyone else.
While I thanked the Lord for His clear conformation of our new church home, I was overwhelmed with tears of joy for these sweet and understanding people who know how to love others by being free to go beyond their comfort zones in order to love on those who might not meet the norm. That also got me to thinking about how I respond to folks with needs that might tend to intimidate me. I realized that even though I might never have dealt with someone like that, that Jesus in me has and He knows exactly what to do!
The Lord through King Solomon tells us in Proverbs 3:1 to “not forget my teachings, and keep my commands (or my Word) in mind because they will bring you long life, good years and peace.” (God’s Word ©) His Word that we regularly hide in our hearts will always direct us along the correct paths in our daily lives. This Word will give us the right things to say and the comfort and confidence to do the right things to people with special needs. Acting on His Word will always cause us to be respectful of others!
A few verses down we are instructed to keep kindness and truth visible in everything we do, say and think. These actions will also keep us respectful of others and tend to give us favor and a good report with all we come in contact with. And speaking of good reports, it was also kind of cool as I was talking to the young and talented worship leader after the service last night about our two kids who had attended Bible School along with me. She had also attended the same school and as we talked she suddenly stopped when a look of recognition came over her face and she blurted out “JB?” which is our younger son's nickname. It turns out that they were in the same School of Worship group, were friends and graduated together! Another coincidence… I don’t think so! (The gal who was talking with Piper is also a graduate of the school, so we already have many things in common!)
I just can’t get over how God keeps confirming His leadings to us in this move, and He has been demonstrating it to us through favors, many positive events, new friends and by the very evident respect of others toward my beautiful bride! So once again I would encourage you this day to go out and make someone’s day very special. Show respect to them by blessing them with vivid demonstrations of God’s love through you, in the way you think, speak and act toward them! Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I going to RESPECT today?”